To the Editor:
Over the past several weeks, as I settled into my new office location in McHenry, many of my old friends, neighbors and colleagues are stopping by (love it) to reacquaint themselves and say hello, and to ask, interestingly enough, the same question about the current health of the city of McHenry’s commercial and retail development.
Apparently, there has been “talk” that the current City Council under the leadership of Mayor Sue Low has “permitted” businesses and large box retailers (Walmart) to locate in neighboring communities (Johnsburg) as opposed to establishing a strong retail sales tax base for McHenry. This claim is not the case.
Let me quickly run down some of the new retail/commercial businesses that have specifically and happily chosen McHenry as their new home: Metalmasters (corporate headquarters), McHenry County Glass, Twisted Moose, Staples, Bed Bath and Beyond, Dicks Sporting Goods, Best Buy, Old Navy, Ultra, Jimanos, Olive Garden, Snap Fitness, Oakridge Products, Medela’s expansion, T.J. Maxx, Brunch Café, Bike Haven, Hobby Lobby, Gary Lang Imports, Sakura, Firewood Grille. I’m confident I’ve missed several more.
As to Walmart’s moving to Johnsburg; well, I can assure you that Low, the City Council and staff went above and beyond to accommodate Walmart’s expansion requirements. In fact, if asked, it is Walmart’s corporate authorities who will share that information with you. The only property available along Route 31 that was large enough to accommodate their Super Walmart footprint was outside the confines of McHenry’s corporate boundaries. Unfortunately, this circumstance was due to the 1999 McHenry-Johnsburg border agreement negotiated and executed by then-Mayor Steve Cuda.
During these challenging fiscal times, McHenry continues to attract both retail and commercial businesses to it confines under the guidance and leadership of Low. She and the City Council should be congratulated and take great satisfaction from this achievement.
State Sen. Pamela Althoff